In the midst of Cristiano Ronaldo’s shocking interview with controversial presenter/journalist Piers Morgan, it is evident that the five-time Ballon d’Or winner’s second stint at Manchester United is over — while his loving relationship with the club is all but in tatters as well, as he gunned for the owners, ex-teammates, current manager Erik ten Hag and infrastructure behind the scenes.
The latest update at the time of writing is that the Glazers are looking for a way to end Ronaldo’s contract at Old Trafford, meaning that when the 37-year-old’s focus is no longer on representing Portugal at the Qatar World Cup, he will be free to sign for which ever interested club he feelsis a suitable fit.
So, with that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the potential landing spots for Ronaldo once all is said and done.
Joint-favourites to land his sought-after signature in the football odds, Sporting Lisbon couldn’t compete with the pull of Manchester United when Ronaldo was seeking a way out of Juventus 18 months ago. However, if he’s available on a free transfer and willing to slice his wages in half (or more), then a return to his boyhood club could be on the cards.
Sporting did narrowly miss out on a place in the last 16 of the Champions League, however, finishing behind Tottenham Hotspur and Eintracht Frankfurt in Group D. Therefore, if a team in Europe’s premier competition were to come calling, the Portuguese outfit could miss out on landing Ronaldo again.
That’s where fellow market leaders Chelsea come in nicely. The Blues can offer Ronaldo Champions League football, with Borussia Dortmund their round of 16 clash in February, and the west London club’s new owner Todd Boehly has made his admiration of the 37-year-old no secret since he bought the club off the hands of Roman Abramovich.
The LA Dodgers owner wanted to bring Ronaldo to Stamford Bridge in the summer, but former boss Thomas Tuchel stood in the way of the move. Things are very different now, as Graham Potter is in charge — and given the form Chelsea were in before the World Cup break, the former Brighton boss might not be in a position to butt heads with the American. London and Premier League and Champions League football might just make the Blues an attractive spot for Ronaldo.
At this stage in any top player’s career, it’s no surprise that there’s talk of a move to a Major League Soccer (MLS) franchise in the United States — with David Beckham’s Inter Miami one of the touted clubs reportedly interested in Ronaldo, even if they are managed by Phil Neville, whose brother Gary was on the receiving end of some harsh words from the forward in the Morgan interview.
But it’s clear that Ronaldo does not think his ability at the highest level is on the decline, while he would be out of the global media spotlight somewhat in the US — making it incredibly unlikely that he is going to jet off to the MLS this winter.
It’s every football fans dream for the Lionel Messi and Ronaldo era to end with them playing on the same team, and while a move to Paris Saint-Germain is fourth on the list, it seems unlikely that the Ligue 1 team could possibly squeeze the Portuguese man into their star-studded dressing room without having to having to cast someone aside.
There were talks of Neymar leaving in the summer, as his relationship with Kylian Mbappe seemed to be at breaking point. It would take a move for the Brazilian to materalise in the winter for PSG to even consider bringing Ronaldo in, but if Neymar returns to Paris as a World Cup winner, we doubt they’d be letting him go anywhere.